IFJ Congress 2001: 30. Trade Union Rights in South Korea

30. Trade Union Rights in South Korea Proposed: National Union of Journalists, Great Britain & Ireland, The Newspaper Guild-CWA The 24th IFJ Congress, meeting in Seoul on June 11th to June 15th, 2001 Noting: 1. That an increasing number of Korean trade union leaders and members are suffering imprisonment for legitimate and peaceful strike action; 2. that the UNHCR and UNESCR have both warned that the Korean government’s attitude to civil and human rights may be in contravention of the UN Human Rights Declaration; Believing that: The recent judicial treatment of strikers from the KFIU and other unions conflicts with ILO Convention 87 on freedom of association and ILO Convention 98 on the right to strike; Calls for: The immediate release of imprisoned trade unionists including Brother Lee Yong-Deuk, President of the Korean Financial Industry Union (KFIU), who also serves as a World Executive Committee member of Union Network International (UNI), and chairs the UNI-Korea Liaison Council: Further calls for the release of 10 other members of KFIU, Korea Telecom Contract Workers’ Union (KTCWU), and the Korea Social Insurance Union (KSIU) who are currently serving prison sentences following a series of arrests, which began in March 2001. And again calls for Korean prosecutors to abandon outstanding legal charges against 12 members of unions affiliated to the Korean Public Services Union, who could face imprisonment if their cases go to court. These include senior members of the KTCWU who attend to organise strike action against restructuring and new workers’ contracts at Korea Telecom’s 114 Directory Services department. This unit is predominantly staffed by women who plan to join in the KCTU’s general strike action on June 12 despite the risk to arrest, f authorities continue with their repressive policing of peaceful protests. This Congress: Pledges its full support for the campaign to release Brother Lee Yong-Deuk and his colleagues, and reaffirms its commitment to the universal right of workers to engage in peaceful protest and strike action without the threat of judicial or extra-judicial punishment by state governments. It further instruct the General Secretary to ensure the widest possible media coverage of this motion and this Congress’ opposition to the treatment of trade unionists by the authorities in Korea.